For fans of the NBA the Finals may not hold as much luster this year as other years. It’s not because the teams will not deserve to be there; the Lakers, Suns, Magic, and Celtics are all among the best that the NBA has to offer. In fact, if it ends up being the Lakers and Celtics like expected it would be a continuation of one of the most storied rivalries in NBA history.
The lack of as much appeal as would be expected has nothing to do with the game itself. Fans and general managers alike are all clamoring for the start of what stands to be one of the most exciting free agency periods that the NBA has seen in a long time.
The absolute biggest free agent in recent years will have many teams salivating with visions of the NBA Finals in their sights. That free agent of course is LeBron James.
No player got the attention that James did just during his final year in high school. Since entering the league back in the talent packed 2003 draft that spotlight has yet to fade. The only problem is that it has ended short of the NBA Finals every year except the 2006-07 season (the Cavaliers were swept by the San Antonio Spurs).
James has made his desire to win no secret, the only question being whether or not it will happen in Cleveland. He will have no shortage of teams trying to say that they can be the ones to take him to the Finals. A number of teams have already been rumored as ready to woe the young superstar including the Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets, and the presidentially supported Chicago Bulls.
James is not the only big name available. Power forward Chris Bosh may be looking to change teams as well. He, like LeBron, is not ruling out his current team, but wants to make sure he tests the market before signing. Supposedly, he has given a list of teams that he would like to go to were the Raptors to propose a sign and trade deal. On that list are some of the teams that are linked to being interested in LeBron James; those teams are the Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, and Miami Heat.
Dwayne Wade may be looking to move away from the sunny beaches of Miami for a different team as well. So far the rumors have not circulated as thick about him potentially going to other teams like James and Bosh. Wade has remarked that he hopes a deal can be worked out with the Heat and that he would be returning to the team next year.
After losing in the first round of the playoffs for the third time in four seasons, Dirk Nowitzki has danced around saying that he too is interested in testing the market. The seven footer has averaged close to a double-double (22.9 points/ 8.5 rebounds)over his 12 year career. He has actually done better in the playoffs averaging 25.6 points and 10.9 rebounds; he just can’t seem to get the right supporting cast around him. Although he did not directly say he was going to, his failure to commit to the Mavericks is evidence enough of his displeasure with the team.
The Phoenix Suns have been rumored to be looking to trade Amar’e Stoudemire for the last couple of seasons rather than risk losing him in free agency. Like Nowitzki, he too has averaged close to a double-double in his 8 year career (21.4 points/ 8.9 rebounds). With the offensive prescence he brings there will be any number of teams ready to bid for his services for the 2010-11 season.
Beer: Hoppin’ to Heaven IPA from the good people at the Hopin’ Frog Brewery in King James’s home town of Akron, Ohio- if you like hops then you will like this beer; it is all about the hops. Thanks to the hops this beer has a rather pleasant spicy/ citrus like flavor with a bold prescence. Enough malts are added to balance out the hops and give this beer a nice, full bodied feel to it. At 6.8% ABV, Cleveland fans will be able to drown their sorrows with a few of these if LeBron ends up going elsewhere.